F-16 fighter jets en route to Ukraine

The transfer of Danish and Dutch F-16s to Ukraine has commenced, governments have confirmed, with operational missions to be flown this summer.

Military F16 fighter jet close up flying through the air. Royal Netherlands Air Force F16 fighter jet aircraft taking off. Jet F-16 fly in the sky.

NATO allies have begun the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine and will see combat in the skies this summer, a joint statement from the Air Force Capability Coalition for Ukraine has confirmed; building on a speech made by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

With the Danish and Dutch governments in the process of donating American-made F-16s to Ukraine (with the support of the United States), “the transfer process for these F-16s is now underway, and Ukraine will be flying operational F-16s this summer,” confirmed the statement; jointly penned by the US President, Dutch Prime Minister and Danish Prime Minister.  

“We are committed to further enhancing Ukraine’s air capabilities, which will include squadrons of modern fourth generation F-16 multi-role aircraft. The coalition intends to support their sustainment and armament, as well as further associated training for pilots to enhance operational effectiveness,” it continued.

Speaking in the NATO Public Forum on the sidelines of the ongoing NATO summit, Blinken also announced that the transfer of F-16s is underway, with Danish and Dutch aircraft to “be flying in the skies of Ukraine this summer to make sure that Ukraine can continue to effectively defend itself against the Russian aggression”.

Describing the F-16s’ imminent arrival in Ukraine, Blinken elaborated: “That’s another very important proof point, because again, it concentrates Vladimir Putin’s mind on the fact that he will not outlast Ukraine, he will not outlast us; and if he persists, the damage that will continue to be done to Russian and its interests will only deepen”.

The joint statement added that the partners are grateful for Belgium and Norway for committing to provide further aircraft, and “to the other members of the Air Force Capability Coalition for their support”. Around 80 examples of the type have thus far been pledged by Allied nations, which Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy described as bringing “just and lasting peace closer”.

“I am confident that they will assist us in better protecting Ukrainians from brutal Russian attacks, such as this week’s strike on the Okhamtdyt children’s hospital in Kyiv,” added Zelenskyy.

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